Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Winter and Oranges

I've finished my stitching on one of Peggy Sue's winter themed blocks. A couple of different types of yarn to simulate swirling snow in the sky plus some snowflakes, a couple of different laces to simulate snow, snow drifts laced with silver thread, herringbone stitch with shimmery sequins and beads, a sequin flower that doesn't show up very well in lower right hand corner, drizzle stitch snow along the "ground" level and finally a big giant snowball made of spiral trellis stitch which I just learned to do.

This is my work on Toni's orange tone on tone block. We are to use nothing but orange for embellishments so I added bullion roses, orange ribbon, fly stitch leaves and a few french knots.

I also added some herringbone stitches, rick rack, eyelet lace with beads and some buttonhole stitches along the bottom, a crocheted butterfly (hey, it look like I stitched her feelers in the wrong place), and feather stitch with french knots.

I do not really like orange but with this RR have built up some orange embellishments and have a greater appreciation of what can be done with tone on tone.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

+27=48 (A Heartstrings Finish)

I finished 27 more blocks to add to the fall themed pile of 21 I made in the last two weekends. So that makes 48 - the total number needed for an adult sized quilt for the Heartstrings Quilt Project.  Next I will start on blocks for a child sized quilt with turquoise centers. That should use up some of my novelty scraps.

Friday, February 24, 2012

TAST - Chain

 The Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge at Pintangle brought to you this week by chain stitch.
I love Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Celebrate Life Challenge - My Grand Finale

I participated in a "Celebrate Life" challenge over on the CQ For Newbies Yahoo Group. Basically we learn new stitches or a different way to apply old ones. I've finally finished my 12 inch block I call Midnight Fantasy Garden.
To recap..week one was outline and and stem stitches.

Second week was buttonhole stitch.

Third week was cast-on stitch.

Fourth week was whipped spider wheel and whipped chain. I also challenged myself to make some angelina fiber leaves.

Fifth week was herringbone and...

...chevron stitch.

Sixth week was turkey work (or is it knot?) so I made some thistles with it.

Sixth week was also spiral trellis. I had a difficult time seeing where I was to put my needle for each stitch so you can see a few little holes where I missed a few stitches (or was that where I decreased stitches and shouldn't have?)

That was it for the required stitches but we also had to add two extra elements from a list of several. I did a spider and her web and it looks like the albino spider has a broken leg. There is a black spider hidden in there too. Both of them made the web but I think they were into the booze when they made it. The other element was a silk ribbon motif so I added some silk ribbon roses.

So that brings me to the finish of this block. The fairy body is painted with glow in the dark paint and I may also add stitches over the paint in glow in the dark thread. Or then again, I may not.

And that brings me to the end of this "Midnight Fantasy Garden". I have several others in the works, though.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Oh, Horsefeathers!!!

I joined SewCalGal's 2012 Free Motion Quilt Challenge and what a challenge it was this month. This month's tutorial was feathers by Diane Gaudynski. I've had Diane's book (maybe she has more than one) for a couple of years but have never quite gotten the hang of the feathers. Maybe I just don't like feathers. I can't draw them no matter how hard or how many times I try. I've drawn on paper, I've sewn on paper. I was going to cheat and resort to tracing some feathers on tissue paper and then sewing over the tissue but decided that would not be a challenge. So, I don't see any feathers in my near future - not until I retire and have more practice time to wile away on feathers. Anyway...this is my not quite completed hotpad (need to bind it yet) for Feb.  And I'll keep it for my own collection. 

The don't call it a challenge for nothing!  And I'm definitely feather-challenged! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Scraps and Leftovers

I made a tiny dent in my fall strings and added 16 more blocks for a total of 27 so far to the 48 needed for one quilt for the Heartstrings Quilt Project challenge.  I'm using tangerine for the centers. 

And this is the start of something using even the smallest of my 30s reproduction scraps. I have 31 of these wedges and need 128. I'm not going to say what they are for until I know I've got the 128 finished. Then I know I will actually make the quilt. 

I wonder if I sewed for a living if I would get tired of it. And what would I do to alleviate stress then? I only have 5 more years until retirement. I keep telling myself that. At least in these hard time I still have a job and for that I am thankful. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

TAST - Chevron and Lazy Daisy

These are my lazy daisy stitches for the Take A Stitch Tuesday Challenge over on PinTangle. This is the first stitch I ever learned to embroider. My grandma taught me to embroider on a stamped dresser cloth over 50 years ago. She taught me lots of things. I miss her. 

This is last week's stitch and I just got around to getting a pic taken of it. Actually I have avoided even trying this stitch because I thought it might be like the cretan stitch. I just can't get the rhythm of cretan. This chevron isn't bad. I like it and will start using it more. 

And these are my sampler blocks sewn together so far. A TAST lapquilt draped over the back of a folding table in my messy sewing room. One of these days I will doodle stitch in the margins. And one of these days I'll clean the sewing room. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Little Turtle Pin Cushion

I made a "Little Turtle Pin Cushion" that I'm going to include in a beginner's sewing kit of items. I hope to add a lot of neat things and make a box for each of my GDs for Christmas. They will be both be 8 by then and I'll probably have the patience to teach them to use the sewing machine. In fact they may both get low end sewing machines to go with their beginner sewing kits. Hear that, Santa?

Tutorial for pincushion was from Kathy Shaw's blog but mine does not look as good as hers. I had to do a patch job on the head. I must not have sewn it in far enough and when I pulled on it to stuff it with leftover shredded batting I pulled it off! So, I had to open the seam and stitch it by hand back into place. I wasn't about to take all the stuffing back out that little hole, resew seam and then stuff it back up. GD won't notice.

Now I have to make a second one for the other GD. And it will probably have to be pink or she won't like it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I'm stressed. Very stressed. And when I'm stressed I like to escape and sew (or garden in another season). I can hardly walk around in my sewing room. I have too many boxes of scraps left from other projects. I was also looking for some quilty charity projects and remembered Heartstrings.  There is a new challenge project going on there and I can use any color of my choice for the centers. I dug through the scrappy string boxes and found a lot of fall colors and I also found a large piece of rust colored fabric I purchased quite some time ago at the thrift store for $1.65 which is perfect for the centers.  I need 48 9.5 inch blocks for an adult sized quilt and so far I have 11 w/o cutting any fabric except for the centers (and the muslin base). I need to get more muslin. 

After that I think I have enough turquoise strings and novelty fabrics to make blocks for a cute kid's quilt. Only 24 blocks needed for that. 

And, then, I will start on a red, white and blue one. I saved a lot of blues and neutrals aside for that one. I'll be cutting reds for another project of mine I saw in a magazine and so will probably have scraps left from that. 

And now I feel a little less stressed. Just a little. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

All That Glitters is Not Really Gold

This is my work on Karen's block in a Fool's Gold RR. This is not the traditional goldwork but instead is done with cheaper and what we call fool's gold embellishments.  I've been waiting for a book on traditional goldwork to arrive so I could follow some traditional methods but couldn't wait any longer so started right in on Karen's block. I had no idea what to stitch for her but when her booklet mentioned she liked grapevines I decided to give her some.  

I first made a vine from several different gold trims couched down. 

The leaves are two pieces of a couple of different types of organdy ironed together with interfacing in the middle. Of course the gooey interfacing stuck to the iron because the organdy is porous so the second time I put a piece of computer paper over it all to iron it together.  I then traced some leaf shapes onto the organdy and stitched them onto the vines. I also stitched around some leaves in the hoop and cut them out and added them as leaves that are kind of freestanding because the fabric is so stiff. 

Grapes are two different types of purple fabric I had in my stash - one is a variegated fairy frost and the other is gold flecked. Those too were ironed together with interfacing in between to keep raw edges from fraying. I cut out little circles from both fabrics to use for grapes. I first stab stitched down a little cushion of felt then put the grapes on top and buttonhole stitched around them with gold thread. I supposed traditional goldwork would have couched gold around them but this is Fool's Goldwork - a new type of stitchery. 

When all the grapes and such were complete I was left with a blank corner so decided on a fluttery butterfly from some organza wire rimmed gold ribbon. I cut 4 butterflies from two different types of ribbons, stacked them, added a bead body and gold feelers (I almost said antlers). 

I noticed when I cut the butterflies that I had some gold covered wire left from the sides of the ribbon. Voila, I curled them around a crochet hook and had some tendrils for the grapevines. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Midnight Fantasy Garden

I made this bit of fabric with some of my orts. Sandwich some orts between a couple of pieces of dissolvable Solvy, stitch all over it with the sewing machine (I wish I would have used a bright thread, not white) and then put it in a bowl of water to dissolve the Solvy and let dry. 

After it was dry I cut out some butterfly wings to add to a Midnight Fantasy themed RR block of Meg's. 

A bunch of flowers and some crocheted butterflies later and I've finished my section of Meg's block and am ready to pass it on to the next stitcher. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Crazy Quilts are Quilts Too

There's a quilt show going on over at Pigtales and Quilts. I'm not a competitor but I do enjoy crazy quilting. Back in 1992 someone gave me a several boxes of old blue jeans because they knew I did a lot of sewing (mostly clothes for the kids, curtains and whatnot). I made several twin bed sized quilts out of the bluejeans that are now in my camper and then I made a crazy quilt with some of them. It's a tied quilt, only the seams are embellished, it's backed with flannel and it's been used over and over again on camping trips and still hasn't worn out. 
 A few years ago I started making sane quilts again as a stress reliever. I've been an I.T. Officer for a group of medical labs for over 25 years and use my left (analytical) brain all day at work so like to use my right (artsy-fartsy) brain when I get home. I don't want any lop-sided thinking here!

I joined a few Yahoo groups for sane quilters and was looking for more excitement when I came across some crazy quilting Yahoo groups too so took the plunge and joined in the fun. I like to join in on RRs because I know I will try some new things on other people's blocks I would be too lazy to try on my own.

In the process I've found I like to do colorful and encrusted embellishing and especially love flowers since I get inspired by my own flower garden. Otherwise I'm a pretty drab kind of person.

What follows is a parade of some of my more colorful moments in stitching. If you want to see more of both my sane and crazy quilting just look around my blog.

Thanks for visiting. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vintage Valentine

This is my work on Alice's block in the Be My Vintage Valentine RR. I did some encrusting inside a heart around the silky she had on the block. And it was a lot of fun. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More Challenges

Sue over on the CQForNewbies Yahoo Group is hosting a "Celebrate Life" challenge. I used one of my Midnight Fantasy blocks for my challenge and this is what it looks like so far after using the following challenge stitches: stem, outline, buttonhole, cast-on, wrapped chain and wrapped spider web.  This weeks stitches were of the wrapped variety... I made a wrapped chain stem for some angelina fiber leaves (my first attempt and also a challenge to self) and then added some fantasy flowers made of wrapped spider web - at least that's what I think it was called. Again, that was my first attempt. I rounded out the corner with a few crocheted butterflies. I think there are two more stitches to go. Wonder what they will be!

This is my February block for the CQJP 2012 Journal Project.  In case you don't know or don't remember from previous posts...these blocks, too, will become a lap quilt. So, challenge to self is to make embellishments washable and to have one or two baskets per block with colors mostly red and white. I want to have each seam different and want to use a lot of the vintage embroidery patterns I have collected.  Blocks are 12 inches and I think there will be 20 or 25 of them. And, I'm calling it "Crazy Basket Case" that's why all the baskets! 

This is another challenge I am participating in over on the CQForNewbies Yahoo group. This one is an RR and this is Jenni's block. The challenge is to add only orange embellishments. I'm not crazy about orange or monotones hence the challenge.  I think I read somewhere (Sunday paper?) that this year's color of the year is Tango Tangerine so I guess we were ahead of our time with this RR! Orange reminds me of the 70s which were some great years so I'm not sure why I don't like it. 

Doris stitched on Jenni's block before me so this is what her total block looks like before it heads off to Toni at the end of the month. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

TAST - Herringbone Stitch

This week's stitch for Sharon Boggon's "Take A Stitch Tuesday (TAST)" at Pin Tangle is the herringbone stitch which, even with a grid to follow, I see I messed up on the top line (sigh) but I now have another happy block to add to my lap quilt. 

The extra challenge this week was to combine the herringbone stitch with one of the previous stitches from TAST 2012. My leaf motif used buttonhole on the left leaf, herringbone in the middle and fly stitch on the right leaf. I found the motif as a freebie at Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread but mine doesn't even look as good as the pattern which I modified a tiny bit. (Sigh again). And, I can add another happy block to my pile. 

In case you don't know what a Happy Block quilt looks like you can see a previous post of mine consisting of summer themed Happy Blocks. My TAST quilt will have white borders around all my TAST samplers but there will be embroidery in the white borders too.